Thursday, March 1, 2018

Wax Box Set Building: 1992 Fleer Football

My evolution as a set-builder has had me scouring ebay for the past few months for cheap wax boxes of yesteryear.  In my football collection, I recently completed two long-overdue projects: 1988 Topps and 1995 Collector's Choice.  I have a good chunk 1996 Donruss completed and 1997 SPx is done.  From there, I have no complete sets until 2006 (Rookies and Stars).  I'm thisclose to 2008 Topps, 2012 Topps, and 2012 Rookies and Stars.  Then beginning in 2013 I see multiple complete sets from each year.  In light of this collection breakdown, I decided to try to complete one set from each year that I have collected.  That would be 1988-1997 and 2012-present.  With the completion of 1988, the years I lack are 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1993.  Eventually, I'll go and find a set from the 15 gap years, but I decided to start with the early 90s years because A) I want something to represent those first years of collecting and B) some of those junk wax boxes are pretty cheap.

I started with 1992 Fleer.  I actually busted this box a while ago and my wantlist has been up on the blog for quite some time.  I haven't actually shown the cards from the break yet, though.  Let's take a trip in our time machine to 25 NFL seasons ago with 1992 Fleer.

Here is my box of 36 packs.  Each pack contains a whopping 17 cards!  There are four insert sets in this product--All-Pros, Rookie Sensations, Team Leaders, and Mark Rypien performance highlights.  I don't think the Rookie Sensations or Team Leaders were found in the type of box I got.  The other "features" mentioned on the wrapper--Pro-Visions and NFL Prospects--are subsets of the base set.

This set took me back to the Utah State Fair when I was 9 or 10 years old.  As my family walked through the vendors and booths, I always had my eyes open for someone selling cards.  My first taste of 1992 Fleer was when I bought a Thurman Thomas Pro-Vision and couple of loose packs from a vendor.  It seems like I paid a quarter for the Thomas and 50 cents each for the packs, but my memory isn't that great. 

Now with 612 cards in the box and a 480-card set, I should have no problem completing this set, right?  We'll see just how close I came.

The Good:

I really like this design.  It's clean, simple, classic.  I'm glad that Fleer used team color schemes on bottom bar.  The team logo in the NFL shield shape looks good.  I like the company logo both clearly identifies the product and stays unobtrusive.  The photos are clear and high-quality.  The base cards just look nice.  Plus, in an old product like this, you're bound to find a good number of Hall of Famers.

The league leader cards are nothing special, but I do like the subset 25 years later.  It's fun to look back and see who was dominating the NFL back then.  Here we have the sack kings of each conference, the AFC receiving leader and the NFC interception leader.  None of these guys probably come up in conversation to often nowadays.

The Pro-Vision cards are pretty cool.  In 1991, they were inserts.  In 1992 they were moved to the base set, but two years later, they became inserts again.  I just noticed that all three of the cards I scanned feature the moon.  Not all of this subset have the moon, just so you know.

The Neutral:

 Both of the insert sets are neutral.  They both have the same navy blue border and gold foil.  I like the All-Pro a little more than the Rypien highlights.  It's interesting to me how Mark Rypien came from nowhere, led the Redskins to a Super Bowl victory while winning NFL MVP in 1991, and by 1994 Washington was drafting Heath Shuler in the top five of the draft.  I will always keep my Rypien cards though, because my dad was a big Redskins fan at the time and Rypien was a household favorite.  Interesting note: his nephew, Brett Rypien, is the quarterback at Boise State.

The Bad:

Yes, the back does have a unique photo that is generally more close-up, personal shot.  The drawback is the truncated stats.  Only four years are shown.

The NFL Prospect cards are just bad.  First of all, they're boring.  Second, there is no logo anywhere, and I'm not a fan.  Last, the checklist is awful.  There were no great players in the 1992 Draft.  No Hall of Famers.  Troy Vincent was probably the best first rounder, and he isn't even part of the set.

The last bad aspect of this set is the glaring omission of some big stars.  My understanding is that some players refused to sign with Fleer, so they could not included.  Players who are missing?  You may have heard of some them: Montana, Marino, Aikman, Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders.  Even the complete set feels incomplete without some of the greatest players of the day.

The Ugly:

The collation.  This set had horrible collation.  Remember how I had 612 cards in the box to try to put together a 480 card set?  Well, I currently have 338 of those cards--a measly 70% of the set--and not all of those came from this box.  Some cards I pulled four or five times, while I others I never laid eyes on.  At first this break was fun, but as the dupes piled up for the same cards over and over again, it got kind of tedious.  I even pulled extra Mark Rypien inserts.  The collation in this box was just downright ugly.

That didn't stop me from enjoying the set.  My wantlist is up, so if you have any extras of this cheap junk wax set, I'm still looking to complete the set to fill the 1992 hole in my collection.

I have other 1990s boxes to share, too.  I'll be posting more later as I try to complete more sets from my childhood.

1 comment:

  1. The League Leaders cards always reminded me of Starting Lineup cards.